Wednesday, March 4, 2015
There is solidifying consensus that the earliest manifestations of mood disorders occur often during childhood and adolescence. This kind of statement is most strongly supported for the highly recurrent forms of mood disorder such as bipolar disorder or patterns of melancholic depression. What implications these early-onset disorders may have for clinical care and public health are yet to be determined. A common assertion is that screening should be used for early detection, but the mere fact that these disorders have an early onset does not in itself support the use of screening. Many of th early symptoms of these disorders are likely to lack specificity, something that is not apparent in data from studies focusing on high risk or ultra-high risk cohorts. Most people with bipolar disorders, for example, may have had non-specific signs such as mood swings, irritability, substance abuse or behavioural problems, but this does not mean that a large proportion of people with those signs will go on to develop bipolar disorder. The interesting scenario that arises as a result of these issues was the focus of a Google "hangout" discussion sponsored by the Journal Evidence Based Mental Health. The discussion has been recorded and is available by clicking here.